• Apr 29, 2010
Civil engineers in Mexico are in the midst of an ambitious project to span the infamous Devil's Backbone. Until now, if you wanted to cross the twisted span of the Sierra Madre that separates Durango from the coastal city of Mazaltan, you had to either take an eight-hour detour that circumnavigated the mountains or risk life and limb by tackling the dirt road that snakes through drug country. When the project wraps up in 2012, drivers will be able to hop over the mountains in a mere two and a half hours.

To make it happen, workers will have to carve a total of 63 tunnels through some 11 miles of stone. They'll also have to raise 32 bridges, including one that will become the second highest span in the world. Work on the road officially kicked off in 2005, though crews just got started cutting their way through the Devil's Backbone last year. Workers have already begun digging the longest tunnel – a 1.6 mile behemoth.

Mexico has a lot riding on the road. The land between Durango and Mazaltan has been difficult to access in the past, and as a result, there have been few jobs. Most local citizens have turned to the drug trade for work in one aspect or another, and the area has become one of the country's largest producers of marijuana and opium. With the new highway in place, federal officials are hoping both tourism and industry will flow into the area and supplant drug-based jobs with higher-earning options.

[Source: USA Today | Image: Google Maps]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 23 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Interesting. I was just in Mazatlan in 2008, where I got proposed to my fiancee. Nice place. Didn't feel unsafe at all, and yes I did leave my resort plenty although I definitely stuck to the more well-traveled part of town. Although I supposed they're talking about the mountainous desert region that the road goes through, and not really the town itself.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Financing provided by the burgeoning drug industry
      • 4 Years Ago
      All those "immigrants" in the US are sending money home for highway projects like this. Great for Mexico. No so great for unemployed citizens of the US.. ;-p
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ah, so they hire illegal labor paying illegal wages, and with illegal hours.

        What was legal about it again?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Damn comment system.

      This was at Luis, whose post said:

      "Luis
      9:54AM (4/29/2010)
      I wish the US could build something like this so quickly. It's a shame we can't get intense projects built in under 10 years anymore."
      • 4 Years Ago
      I wish the US could build something like this so quickly. It's a shame we can't get intense projects built in under 10 years anymore.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Also have to take into account Unions and Contractors who raise price's and cause delays all the time for the average huge project to take that long. Big Dig in Boston anyone? And yes I live in the Boston area and I'm ashamed of it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        10 years? H3ll, we (Teddy!) built the Panama Canal in 4 years* - 2 years ahead of schedule! - even after the rest of the world had given up.

        Thank the environutjobs who prevent America from truly moving forward.

        (yes, I know we worked on it from 1904-1914, but real construction work on the locks didn't get underway until 1910 - pfft!).
        • 4 Years Ago
        We could always hire more Mexicans...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Pancho Villa autobahn open soon.
      Get an El Camino and haul ass over the Devil's backbone.
      • 4 Years Ago
      ah.....bueno
      • 4 Years Ago
      If they are going to get all of this done in 7years they need to come to michigan and work on our roads. I would hate to be on this road when there is an earthquake. 63 Tunnels and 32 bridges all falling down.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Mazatlan, not Mazaltan
        • 4 Years Ago
        Mazaltan....the safe haven for Mexico's Jewish contingent.
      • 4 Years Ago
      more like an "increase" in drug tourism.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Seriously. Is it really so hard to spell "Mazatlán" correctly?
        • 4 Years Ago
        No, but since it's not French, Italian or German the American media doesn't care.
      • 4 Years Ago
      OMG that looks like a SICK driving road.
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